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Warwickshire changes afoot as Paul Farbrace lines up fresh blood

After two disappointing seasons at the club, Farbrace is considering a shake-up

George Dobell
George Dobell
30-Sep-2020
Paul Farbrace became Warwickshire's sport director in 2019  •  Getty Images

Paul Farbrace became Warwickshire's sport director in 2019  •  Getty Images

A review of the coaching set-up at Warwickshire is underway with the expectation there could be changes in personnel.
Warwickshire finished without a win in their five Bob Willis Trophy matches in 2020 and failed to qualify for the quarter-final stages of the T20 Blast. In 2019, Warwickshire just survived in Division One of the County Championship - they finished seventh - and failed to qualify for the knock-out stages in either white-ball competition, finishing eighth in the North Group of the Blast and seventh in the North Group of the One-Day Cup. For a Test-hosting ground with a large playing budget and illustrious history, that is not deemed adequate.
While Paul Farbrace, the club's sport director, declined to clarify his plans when approached by ESPNcricinfo, it is understood he has reservations about the policy of employing a coaching set-up dominated by recently-retired Warwickshire players.
All four of Warwickshire main coaches - Jim Troughton (head coach), Ian Westwood (second team coach), Tony Frost (batting coach), and Graeme Welch (bowling coach) - played for the club. While several of the individual coaches are well regarded - Welch, in particular, has an outstanding reputation and has several spells as a consultant with the England team - there are suggestions that the combination has created an overly cosy environment. Farbrace joined the club at the start of the 2019 season and, after 18 months in which to observe how it operates, appears to be ready to implement some changes.
Among those understood to be under consideration to join the coaching staff is David Saker. The former England bowling coach is currently with Sri Lanka but has previously been linked to the role of director of cricket with the club. Indeed, he described the position as "ideal" back in 2012.
It is understood there was some contact between Farbrace and Sussex about the vacant head coach role at the club following Jason Gillespie's departure, but it is thought Farbrace will not be pursuing that opportunity.
Meanwhile, history has repeated itself after Ismail Mohammed, a young batsman of whom much is expected, has left the club to join Worcestershire. Ismail, a nephew of Moeen Ali, is a 16-year-old who has made a good impression in the Birmingham League. But, feeling his opportunities were limited - he was only recently added to the club's academy - he has followed the path taken by Moeen at the end of 2006 and moved to New Road. His brother, Isaac, remains part of Warwickshire's youth set-up.
Despite their position in the middle of a large, ethnically diverse city, Warwickshire currently have no players or coaches of BAME background on their senior staff. The club are confident they have things in place to improve this, however, with around 50 percent of their pathway players and almost all of their academy squad coming from such backgrounds.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo